"Shadow is home!"
Those words brought immeasurable happiness to a Naugatuck family Monday morning.
Their dog, Shadow, had been missing all weekend — as the borough remains gripped by below-freezing temperatures — but, with a little help and a whole lot of support from the community, Shadow found his way back home.
He may have had to chew his tail off to get there, though, according to his owner, Kelley.
"We have to get him to the vet," she writes in an email to Patch. "It looks like the reason he has not come home is that he was stuck somewhere. His tail is chewed off. It smells and the pads of his paws seem to hurt a little — he is gimping a bit (frost bite?). He has no other defensive looking marks on him and he does not look like he has been fighting."
Vets told the family later Monday that it does appear Shadow may have had an altercation with a coyote, and that he's lucky to be alive.
Kelley suspects that a trail of bacon they left outside Sunday night helped Shadow find his way back home.
After a weekend of searching that included putting flyers up around town, the family went out again Sunday evening, with help from Packleader Pet Trackers, a Rhode Island-based business that "uses highly trained scent specific trailing K-9's to locate your lost pets."
"They called his name softly and left a trail of bacon from the end of Cliff Street to our back door. They came back to house at 11:30 feeling good," she says.
Kelley says she has been sleeping on the couch, so that she would hear Shadow if he barked at the back door. Around 5:45 a.m. Monday, she heard Shadow crying outside.
"He did the same body wag excited cry to see me that he always does," she says.
"My family is overwhelmed with joy," she says. "We are humbled and so grateful for the outpouring of kindness and support that we have received from everyone. Thank God that Heather and Jamie [from Pet Trackers] gave us an area that we felt sure he was and that Susan gave us reason to feel that going out last night was important. You are all amazing people and we plan to stay connected and be available to help others that find themselves in this position."
Kelley's son, Tommy Mashia, said, "I have been raising Shadow since he was 7 weeks old -- my mother Kelley got him for me for my 16th birthday and he is literally my life."
"All the reactions and support I am getting from everyone truly means the world. I love that dog more than anything."
Our original report follows:
Devastated that their dog Shadow has gone missing, a Naugatuck family is offering a $500 reward for his safe return home.
Shadow went missing Friday afternoon (Jan. 24) from George Street in Naugatuck. He is 4 years old with brown fur/white belly and a black nose. His family says he needs medication and is nervous around strangers and not good with other animals.
Anyone who has seen Shadow is asked to please call Kelly at 203-577-8560 or Tom at 203-695-1421.